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Veterans Affairs Information Technology: Historical Perspective on Health System Modernization Contracts and Update on Efforts to Address Key FITARA-Related Areas


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For nearly two decades, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has undertaken multiple efforts to modernize its health information systemthe Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (known as VistA). Two of VA's most recent efforts included the Integrated Electronic Health Record (iEHR) program, a joint program with the Department of Defense (DOD) intended to replace separate systems used by VA and DOD with a single system; and the VistA Evolution program, which was to modernize VistA with additional capabilities and a better interface for all users. VA has relied extensively on assistance from contractors for these efforts. VA obligated over $1.1 billion for contracts with 138 contractors during fiscal years 2011 through 2016 for iEHR and VistA Evolution. Contract data showed that the 15 key contractors that worked on both programs accounted for $741 million of the funding obligated for system development, project management, and operations and maintenance to support the two programs (see figure). VA recently announced that it intends to change its VistA modernization approach and acquire the same electronic health record system that DOD is implementing.



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